Epic Movie (2007) (part 7 of 11)

The three orphans must now train to defeat the White Bitch. We fade in on their legs as they walk through the woods. The snow is gone, and it’s summer, and they look up to see a castle-like private school atop a distant hill. The matte painting looks nice. The score sounds nice, too. These are the last nice things I’ll be saying for a while.

Susan, Peter and Lucy emerge into the courtyard of the private school. Students walk around in school uniforms, with some wearing black cloaks over them. You probably know what they’re satirizing here. What you don’t know is how poorly they’re going to do it.

Peter taps a student on the back. How Peter knew to find this particular individual is explained very well, in the alternate timeline where this movie doesn’t suck. The person who turns around is dressed exactly like Harry Potter, but the joke is that he’s 46 year old comedian/actor Kevin McDonald.

To give Kevin McDonald his due, he was one of The Kids in the Hall, a legendary comedy troupe. But he’s about to blow all of that good will in one shot.

He grins at the orphans and says, “Welcome, my name is Harry Potter!” So… of all the things they could have done with the name, the writers didn’t change it at all? I’ll take a drink and, I imagine, so did McDonald before filming this scene.

Caption contributed by Jordon Davis

“Okay, Mr. McDonald, here’s your paycheck!”

Susan, confused, asks, “Aren’t you a little old to still be a student here?” So, that’s the joke, then? Thanks for explaining it to us, Susan. McDonald claims, “I am but 14, as are my two friends, Ronald and Hermione!” For some reason, I have a hunch that Ron and Hermione will be ridiculously old, too. I don’t know why.

We pan over, and indeed, Ron’s an old, fat guy with a red beard, and Hermione is… well… she has a huge, pregnant belly hanging out of her uniform, a tight miniskirt which does not contain her legs, and black stockings that come up to her thighs. She’s also smoking. She says to the girls, “Hope you chicks are on the pill. Harry likes to get wasted and show off his sorcerer’s stones!” She then farts loudly. And now I feel just like Malcolm McDowell when he was crying, “It’s a sin! It’s a sin!”. This film is moving me towards a bit of the old ultraviolence myself.

Susan’s next line clears up everything. “They are definitely too old to still be doing this shit!” Thanks for explaining that. Again. I don’t even see why this is a valid criticism of the Harry Potter movies. Daniel Radcliff was only 17 when the last film was shot, so it’s not like he’s a thirtysomething still trying to play a teenager.

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Kevin says they can train the orphans to defeat the White Bitch, and he’ll even show them how to use the invisibility cloak. First of all, how hard is it to “use” a piece of clothing? Second of all, guess the joke. Yep, Kevin throws a red cloak over his head that fails to make him invisible in any way whatsoever, and he dances around saying, “Oh no, I’m completely invisible. Where am I? What was that? Where am I? I could be anywhere!” He then skitters up to Susan and giggles furiously as he prepares to fondle her breasts.

By the way, the whole non-invisibility cloak thing is lifted directly from Erik the Viking. I’d ask if they didn’t think we’d notice, but actually, Erik the Viking only took in 2 million dollars. It was the 144th highest grossing movie of 1989. So, maybe they really didn’t think we’d notice. (If that’s the case, they should look into stealing jokes from Tom Cruise’s Losin’ It. Absolutely nobody saw that thing.)

Kevin actually does grab Susan’s breasts, which causes her to push him away. He sheepishly admits, “Wrong cloak.” Then the writers steal a joke from Team America: World Police when McDonald declares, “Let the training montage begin! Cue inspirational music!” Now, stealing from a movie from the ‘80s is one thing—even Seltzer and Friedberg are smart enough to know their target audience wasn’t even born then. But stealing from a movie from three years prior, aimed at the same demographic, is just too stupid to contemplate. You know, I’m starting to think they didn’t care about the quality of the finished film.

The inspirational music, by the way, is “Eye of the Tiger”. Thanks to a startling lack of original thinking on the part of the directors, the band Survivor gets a nice-sized residual check. At least, the surviving members do. Which I assume is all of them, because they’re Survivors.

Nothing in the montage is funny, so let me just barrel through this. Shot one: Ron shows Susan how to use a bow. Without looking, she shoots an arrow through Ron’s neck. Shot two: Hermione shows Lucy how to cast a spell with a wand. Lucy waives the wand at Hermione and causes a terrible case of herpes to appear on her lips. They show this in close-up, of course, and it’s completely disgusting. Thanks, movie.

Shot three: Kevin is teaching Peter how to use a sword. Kevin taunts him, saying his fear is holding him back. He calls Peter a “Nancy boy, schoolgirl, pussy… chicken.” That does it for Peter, who attacks viciously. And then a guy in a big, ‘70s afro wig (who’s probably supposed to be Hagrid) comes walking up. Concentrating on his fight with Kevin, Peter accidentally kills Hagrid with his backswing. A woman dressed as a witch comes walking by, and gets murdered in the same manner. I’m not a huge Potter fan, but I think that was supposed to be McGonagall. Peter disarms Kevin, causing his sword to go flying and kill a bearded old man, who is either Dumbledore or Santa on his way to meet the Ice Cream Bunny. Kevin declares the training complete. Neither character notices that they’ve just killed three people, nor is it ever explained why a sane individual would attempt to walk through a swordfight.

Incidentally, if you’ve ever seen the Misty Mundae softcore movie The Lord of the G-Strings, this parody has roughly the same production values. That’s not a joke. If you played the fight scenes from the two movies side by side, I would probably not be able to tell the difference. The porno doesn’t have a robot, though. Epic Movie has a robot.

Caption contributed by Jordon Davis

But unlike this movie, Lord of the G-Strings had a script.

Back in her throne room, the Bitch is surfing the web on a huge Apple laptop. I wonder if they paid Steve Jobs more or less than what Survivor got. The queen is looking at her MySpace page, which may or may not be a real MySpace page, and her top eight friends include Rosie O’Donnell, Oprah, and Saddam Hussein—you know, all famous lesbians. The things that interest her are killing, maiming, and listening to Fall Out Boy. Sadly, kids, that’s one of the funniest jokes in the movie.

And whenever there’s a funny joke in this movie, you know what that means: it’s time to speculate on how the directors will ruin it. They show a close-up of her page, revealing this word salad: “DO NOT ADD ME TO YOUR LIST IF YOU ARE AFRAID. I am not here to meet or chat with you or your friends. I am WHITEBITCH—Queen of the Underworld, daughter of Satan. I am part of the secret order of The Keepers. I am the ENFORCER ASSASSIN.” Do you have any idea how much PCP it takes for that to parse? Remember that ABC Afterschool Special where Helen Hunt jumped out a window? It’s like that.

There’s a ding, and the queen announces to nobody, “It’s an IM from Silas!” The IM says, “The kids have escaped,” and it turns out the White Bitch can’t read, because she sounds out each word. The joke really makes no sense, but it’s still somewhat amusing, mostly thanks to how much fun Coolidge has with it. She correctly determines that the “e” is silent in “have” but she pronounces “escaped” as “escap-ehh-duhh”. Bink rolls his eyes, causing the Queen of the Underworld, daughter of Satan, to throw her laptop at him, which hits Bink in the head and knocks him out cold. This makes me happy.

And I have to ask, what “kids” are they talking about? Jayma Mays, the youngest of the four, is 28 years old. Perhaps someone should do a spoof of Epic Movie where Kal Penn’s character is played by Kevin McDonald. That would make more sense than the Harry Potter gag.

The Bitch now explains to nobody, “I’ve got to catch and kill those children before they ruin everything!” To quote Homer Simpson, “Who are you, the narrator?” She then orders, “See what else Edward knows!” And I’m really not sure who she’s talking to, because Bink, the only other person in the room, is unconscious.

Cut to Kal Penn’s cell, which is a large room made of frozen metal. I realize it’s just silver spray paint, but it actually looks fairly decent. Penn is desperate to get out and return to his “family”.

Luckily, he’s been incarcerated with someone who can help. Unluckily, it’s Captain Jack Sparrow. Jack comes stumbling, besotted, into the frame with a bottle in hand. This fooled me for a moment. The costume is great, and the impression of Johnny Depp is absolutely perfect. I mean, he sounds like Depp, and moves like Depp, and it’s only a close-up of his face that shows it’s clearly not him. Well, there’s that, and the fact that he’d never do a movie like this. Actually, chemists at UC Santa Barbara have been unable to confirm that Johnny Depp has any sense of humor about himself whatsoever.

No, our Depp-alike is played by Darrell Hammond, longtime SNL cast member, and easily one of the best mimics alive. Sadly, Hammond doesn’t have the charisma or name recognition to star in his own films, so he’s stuck taking bit parts in silly things like this. Will our intrepid writer/directors waste Hammond’s talents, as well as all the money they paid him to show up? Why, yes. Yes, they will.

Caption contributed by Jordon Davis

“Now I’m Johnny Depp. Now I’m trapped in a box.”

Before the true pain starts, there’s a brief reprieve with two jokes that are nearly funny. First, Penn excitedly mistakes Jack Sparrow for Captain Morgan and gushes, “I love your rum!” Then, Hammond introduces himself as “Captain Jack Swallows”. Wait a second… the writers didn’t just use the actual character’s name? And the satiric name is risqué without being obvious or disgusting? Amazing. They fumble it, of course, by having Penn snicker at the name Swallows.

Swallows accidentally breaks his bottle against the wall, and becomes surprised and confused by his own actions. It’s a nice bit of Depp channeling. He tells Penn that he’ll reunite him with his family, and he’s even got a ship waiting for them.

This intrigues Penn, who asks how he plans to get them out. Swallows responds by pulling out a dagger and stabbing Penn in the chest. Actually, if you want to get nitpicky, he stabs him in a place on his chest where he should have encountered solid bone. I’m beginning to suspect Darrell Hammond chose comedy because medical school wasn’t working out for him.

Penn doubles over as Swallows runs to the door and calls to the guards for help. He then runs back over to Penn. Well, he doesn’t exactly run. He kind of poses for a moment and then flounces back over with his arms swinging. It’s all a bit too self-conscious; I have a feeling that Darrell Hammond directed himself in this movie.

Two very large and very mean-looking guards open the door and advance towards the prisoners. And here comes one of those images that makes me think I’m just hallucinating this entire movie: Swallows picks Penn up by his arm and leg, Penn turns into a very poorly-constructed mannequin, and Swallows swings the mannequin around and knocks the two guards unconscious.

My lord, that dummy looks awful. The leg is twisted backwards, and Hammond even lets the dummy’s brown, plastic head come back into the frame. There is, as always, no indication that any of this fakeness was done for intentional comedic effect. Personally, I believe the directors have lost the benefit of the doubt.

Having disposed of the two guards, Penn (whose knife wound has vanished, of course) and Swallows escape.

Caption contributed by Jordon Davis

Ironically, the only person fooled by the Kal Penn dummy was Kal Penn.

Jordon Davis

B.A. Political Science, SUNY Albany - 1991
Master of Public Administration, University of Georgia - 1993
Juris Doctorate, Emory University - 1996

State of Georgia - 1996
State of New York - 1997

Fields Medal (with Laurent Lafforgue and Vladimir Voevodsky) - 1998

Follow Jordon at @LossLeader on Twitter.

Multi-Part Article: Epic Movie (2007)

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